Jesus Appears to his Disciples at the Sea of Galilee

John 21:1-14

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards[a] off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Blooms of Spring | Mercer Botanical Garden | March 2023

I love this account of Jesus’ appearing to his disciples at the sea of Galilee. There are so many things that catch my attention. What’s up with the 153 fish? Why count them? Is there a message in the actual number 153? Why does Peter put on his cloak and jump into the sea? And Jesus’ three times questioning of Peter is a wonderful probing opportunity.

Let’s start, however, with the fact that Jesus shows up (again) after his resurrection, and offers convincing proof that he is actually alive. He’s no ghost. He’s not a figment of their imagination. He’s real, alive, and present. What’s more, he will intrude in the most impactful times.

I get the picture that Peter and the disciples were almost bored. Listless. Purposeless. Nothing else to do. So they go fishing. But they’re not successful. In fact they fish all night without catching anything. And when Jesus shows up he nearly embarrasses them, asking, “Do you have any fish?” I think he knew they didn’t. I’m wondering whether God set this up so that they would be thwarted in their efforts. Until he comes into the picture.

Jesus changes everything. He directs them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. And sure enough there is a great haul of fish – so many that they cannot haul in the catch. Then suddenly they are made to realize it’s Jesus.

I wonder how many times I’ve struggled with no apparent success only to have Jesus show up and bring a degree of success I could never imagine. I wonder if God has not engineered some things in my life so that I did not succeed until I recognized Jesus’ presence and went his way. I do believe Jesus wants to show himself to us because of his love for us. He doesn’t come to chide. He comes to bless.

Once Again…

  1. Why did he appear at this time to these people?
  2. What was the impact in their lives?
  3. What do I learn from these accounts?
  4. What am I going to do about it?
  1. Barbara Rogers said:

    Welcome back. I saw all of the pictures on Facebook. Awesome trip. You were missed!

    • IT’s good to be back. IF you want to see more photos you can go to my smugmug site:


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